India 1 (Syed Rahim Nabi – 92nd) lost to Nepal (Anil Gurung – 70th, Jumanu Rai – 80th)

KATHMANDU: India lost by a goal but didn’t miss their goal. Despite a 1-2 defeat to hosts Nepal in front of a 30000-odd deafening crowd at the Dasrath Stadium, India advanced to the semifinal of the 2013 SAFF Championship.

Robin Singh and Syed Rahim Nabi threaten the rival goal area
India will play either Maldives or Afghanistan in the last-four. India finished second in Group A with 4 points from three matches while Nepal topped the group with 7 points from same number of outings.

In the other match of the day Pakistan defeated Bangladesh 2-1 to finish on four points. But India pipped Pakistan on Head to Head count to book a berth in the last four.

An acrobatic Syed Rahim Nabi’s brilliant side-volley in injury time did silence the home crowd but only for a short spell. Nabi met Jewel Raja Shaikh’s centre from the right to reduce the margin for India.

“We knew Nepal were a very good Team. They were quick and have some very good quality Players. They did threaten us but didn’t have clear chances in the first half,” National Coach Wim Koevermans quipped at the Post-match Press Conference.

“In the second half, we kicked long and it was easy for them to defend. I want to congratulate Nepal on their victory but at the same time, it was our aim to advance to the semis which we eventually did,” he added. “Players need to follow plan but it didn’t really happen. We look forward to play the Fourth Final on 9th.”

INDIA: Subrata Paul; Nirmal Chhetri, Gouramangi Singh, Arnab Mondal, Mohanraj Nallappan; Syed Rahim Nabi, Mehtab Hossain, Arata Izumi (Lenny Rodrigues), Jewel Raja Shaikh, Jeje Lalpekhlua (Robin Singh), Sunil Chhetri.